sharks in the rivers
From U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón, an extraordinary collection—at once urbane and earthy—that navigates the thoroughfares and tributaries of human nature.
The speaker in Sharks in the Rivers finds herself multiply dislocated: from her childhood in California, from her family’s roots in Mexico, from a dying parent, from her prior self. The world is always in motion—both toward and away from us—and it is also full of risk: from sharks unexpectedly lurking beneath estuarial rivers to the dangers of New York City, where, as Limón reminds us, even rats can find themselves trapped by the garbage cans they’ve crawled into. In such a world, how should one proceed?
Throughout these poems, Limón suggests that we must cleave to the world as it “keep[s] opening before us,” for, if we pay attention, we can be one with its complex, ephemeral, and beautiful strangeness. Loss is perpetual, and each person’s mouth “is the same / mouth as everyone’s, all trying to say the same thing.” For Limón, it’s the saying—individual and collective—that transforms each of us into “a wound overcome by wonder,” that allows “the wind itself” to be our “own wild whisper.”